• Some cruise passengers prefer extended voyages of weeks or months.
  • Passengers say the longer voyages offer more opportunities for friendships.
  • Many cruise lines such as Holland America Line and AmaWaterways invest heavily in longer itineraries.

When most travelers think of a cruise vacation, they might imagine spending four to five days sunbathing in the ocean in the Caribbean. At that point, Joyce Harry had just started traveling.

“Two weeks is a short voyage,” Haley, 78, told USA TODAY. The retired legal secretary spends much of his time on cruise ships, and on long voyages he sails alone for over 80 days. Based in her West of Sun City, Arizona, Haley loves both the camaraderie that develops between passengers and crew, as well as the convenient access to far-flung destinations such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

“They’re just amazing because you can see all the places you wouldn’t see if you weren’t sitting on the plane for 12 hours.

Hailey is one of many travelers who enjoy extended cruises of weeks or months, and some cruise lines are noticing growing interest in these itineraries. Now they are updating their product accordingly.

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“I think friendship is definitely high.”

Steve Miller and wife Janet embarked on a longer voyage after retiring in 2017. Miller said the Adelanto, Calif.-based couple found a more varied itinerary appealing. said.

The pair have since traveled to destinations such as the Panama Canal and Alaska, with plans to sail to Nova Scotia, Iceland, and more. They recently boarded his 28-night Princess Cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa, where they took ukulele lessons on a sea day and performed with other students in the onboard theater. end of cruise.

Miller, 71, has found that three- to four-day cruises lend themselves well to partying on board, but longer itineraries tend to attract “more serious cruisers” and older demographics.

Even if you are new to a long cruise, you can feel the difference in the atmosphere onboard. Juan Botino and his wife Mikaela took to his Facebook group with fellow passengers to organize an onboard event before heading out on his 12-day Norwegian cruise for his line of cruises on their honeymoon. I participated.

During the December voyage, which took place over Christmas and New Year, they pub-hopped onboard bars and played group slot pulls at the casino. In addition, we also participated in a gift exchange where gifts from each passenger’s hometown were collected, and the guests had to explain the meaning of their choice.

Botino, who lives in Atlanta, chose platters featuring landmarks from around the city and received chocolate and beer koozies from Berkshire, Massachusetts.

The 37-year-old, who has previously been on 4- and 7-day cruises, met the other passengers at lunch on the first day and ate and went to the pool together throughout the cruise. “I think the more time you spend with them, the more camaraderie you’ll definitely have,” said Botino, the event security company’s operations manager.

Cruise companies offer longer voyages

Holland America is one of the cruise companies that recently invested in longer voyages. According to Beth Bodensteiner, the line’s chief commercial officer, the line made the shift in response to feedback from guests and as a way to differentiate itself from other lines.

“We are well known for our unique and long itineraries,” she said in an interview.

This year saw a 25% increase in 25+ day voyages and a 117% increase in 50+ day voyages compared to 2019. On the route, passengers prioritized features such as cleanliness in the early days of the pandemic, but Bodensteiner said guests put destinations first when booking.

She said the line offers some unique programs like “destination-rich lectures”, allowing guests to get to know those places better than a short cruise, and several ports He added that he would stay overnight at

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The line has launched a new itinerary as part of a shift in focus to: 22 days sailing on Koningsdam ship Traveling from San Diego to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in April 2024, with stops in Mexico and Hawaii to set the best ocean days to see a solar eclipse.

Holland America sails as well 14 Days Eclipse Voyage in Zaandam Departing in March 2024, 12-Day Historic Baja Peninsula & Sea of ​​Cortez Sailing Designed to follow in the footsteps of author John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. The famous 1940 expeditionThe latter will depart in Volendam in December 2023.

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Other lines are doing the same.

Ama Channel: “At the beginning of 2021, travelers were desperate to catch up on lost travel opportunities and were craving longer, more immersive small-ship river cruise experiences,” said Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of AmaWaterways. author Kristin Karst said in an email.To meet that demand, the line first launched Seven River Journeys 2023 itinerary. AmaWaterways has added two more departures for his 2024, and for 49 nights or more, guests can sail to destinations such as the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.

Oceania Cruises: In Oceania, the pandemic has seen a “significant increase in demand” for long voyages of 12 to 64 days, a spokeswoman said in an email. His 180-day round-the-world cruise in 2023 sold out within his 24 hours, and more than a third of his bookings were by first-time passengers. This line recently 33 days of great voyage Visit 28 ports from Venice, Italy to Barcelona, ​​Spain.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise: Uniworld has shown similar interest in longer trips, making its first voyage. rivers of the world This year’s itinerary went to 9 countries, including Egypt and France, for 46 nights or more.We have others, too longer version “Longer sails, especially our world cruises, give us the opportunity to literally see the world in one vacation while taking care of every detail,” said Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO, in an email. to the guest.

Tips for long cruises

However, long sailing requires special planning. Haley says she usually has her sitter check on her condo house once a week or stays there while cruising.she said the post office Hold mail for up to 30 daysTravelers may want to keep this in mind.

She also makes sure to have enough medicine on hand while traveling and pack clothing for the temperatures of the various destinations. Because long cruises can mean sailing through different climates, Haley usually ships most of her luggage ahead of time to the cruise company via Luggage Forward, so she doesn’t have to carry her own.

Haley chooses cruises based on destination and mood. She will return to the South Pacific later this year. “I’ve been there several times before and I feel like that’s what I want to do now,” she said. only”

For some people, even one long cruise is enough to get them hooked, and Botino already has other long itineraries in mind.

“I haven’t talked to my wife yet… but I actually found[sailing]on the 21st and 18th that I want her to do,” he said.